Kincardine student wins bronze
medal at national science fair

By Liz Dadson


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Participant displays at the Canada-Wide Science Fair held in Lethbridge, Alberta, May 11-18
photo courtesy of Joan Mowle

It was a lot of hard work but it paid off for Declan Mowle and his family.

The Grade 8 student at Huron Heights Public School in Kincardine, was selected at his school's science fair to go on to the Bluewater regional science fair in Owen Sound.

From there, he was chosen to represent the region at the Canada-Wide Science Fair held in Lethbridge, Alberta, May 11-18.

And there, he won a bronze medal, $100 in cash, and a $1,000 entrance scholarship to the University of Western Ontario science program.

Relaxing in his family's dining room on Saugeen Street in Kincardine, Declan doesn't let the fame bother him too much. He's more excited about the project than all the fanfare it has brought him.

His original science project was to produce an Anti-Rollover Car (AROC) which would be safer on the road. That project won him acclaim at Bluewater regional, and then selection to the national science fair.

Then, the real work began as Declan redesigned his project, with help from Sarah Chalmers, a supply teacher at Kincardine District Secondary School and one of the chaperones on the trip to Lethbridge, and John Twelves, a retired police officer and co-ordinator of the Bluewater regional science fair.

Being chosen for the national event, meant increased effort and improved science and knowledge of the subject, says Declan. "Fifty per cent of the project is based on your understanding of the science and knowledge, and 30 per cent is for communication and the display board." The remainder is for presentation.

He and his father reworked the design of the AROC, using Lego, and they documented all that extra work in a binder of notes, and a second binder full of pictures.

"I had to change the language used in the project, and the information on the display board," says Declan, "making it more of a Grade 11 level." 

He also had to write an essay about the project, and received help on that from Twelves and Chalmers. That essay went to the judges so they knew what the project was about, and they were able to test the students on their knowledge of the work.

Declan says the basic idea of his project was to build a prototype of an AROC. So, he made three versions of a test vehicle, and two went with him to Alberta.

After four weeks of intense, concentrated effort, the new and improved project was ready for the Canada-Wide Science Fair.

"That was an amazing experience," says Declan, "and a great achievement. It was so different being surrounded by a bunch of really smart people."

He made a lot of friends, including a fellow Bluewater contestant, Cengiz Eller of Meaford.

The build-up to going to Lethbridge was a lot of work, says Declan. And it was fairly stressful for his family, even right up to the night before he left.

The 13-year-old son of Joan and Kevin Mowle, says he has been on an airplane before and spends his summers at a variety of camps so being away from home and travelling by plane was not a big deal.

"The weather out there was different," he says. "It was very humid, sunny and hot, and surprisingly windy."

Declan was required to endure five hours of public viewing of the projects every night for the five days of the science fair. But there were exciting road trips as well.

"We went to Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo-Jump," he says. "We saw birds of prey, and we went to the Waterton Lake Provincial Park. I think the highlight was exploring southern Alberta. The worst part was the judging - it was really nerve-wracking."

Declan says he would like to get into the science and engineering field in the future. But for now, he's looking forward to next year's science fair, and running with the advantage he now has in knowing what the national science judges are looking for in a project. 

To read more about Declan's project, click here.

A total of 481 students from all across Canada competed at the Canada-Wide Science Fair, with 281 winning medals and earning $1-million in prizes.

2013 Lethbridge Canada-Wide Science Fair medals

Declan Mowle of Kincardine holds up his $1,000 scholarship to Western, and his bronze medal from the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Lethbridge, Alberta

The Bluewater regional team at the Canada-Wide Science Fair includes Katherine Teeter (L), Esther Boersma of Formosa, Kathleen Myatt, Josie Mielhausen of Tobermory, Declan Mowle of Kincardine, and Cengiz Eller of Meaford; five members of the team won medals - four bronze and one silver
photos courtesy of Joan Mowle

Declan Mowle of Kincardine was featured in the Lethbridge newspaper as the "science kid"

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